Arriving for the European leaders’ summit in Brussels on Thursday, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras expressed hope that the European Council will take absolutely clear decisions on two crucial issues: the leadership of the European Commission and Turkey’s violations in the Cyprus Republic’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
“We must rule out the possibility that the head of the European Commission for the next five years will be a politician that does not unite but divides Europe,” he said, referring to Manfred Weber.
Tsipras also stressed the need to send a clear message to Turkey to immediately cease illegal activities within Cyprus’ EEZ and violations of international law, if necessary through measures and sanctions.
“We will examine every possibility so that, to the degree that there is not an immediate end to these violations, there are the appropriate measures and sanctions,” he said, pointing out that Ankara, by violating Cyprus’ sovereignty, was also violating the sovereignty of the European Union.
He noted that the Council must make critical decisions that concern the future of Europe but also the future of the EU’s relations with Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean.
According to Tsipras, Weber was a politician that had adopted extreme positions against the European South and against Greece, as well as being a supporter of austerity rather than social convergence, social cohesion and solidarity “that are the common values of the EU”.
Tsipras had earlier expressed his support for Frans Timmermans as president of the European Commission during the Party of European Socialists (PES) preparatory session for heads of state and government in Brussels, government sources said.
With respect to Turkey, Tsipras said that, together with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, they will strive to make the Council adopt clear positions and clear decisions on this issue and this was the reason they had scheduled a meeting before the summit in order to coordinate their actions, “so that today there will be the best possible decision for our national interests.”
“The message must be clear: whoever violates international law will face consequences,” he said.
In meetings with Anastasiades, Mogherini in Brussels, Tsipras asks for clear warning to Turkey
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Thursday held meetings with the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, and Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, before the first session of the European leaders two-day summit in Brussels.
According to diplomatic sources, the meeting with Mogherini focused on Turkey’s illegal drilling in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), with Tsipras underlining the need for a clear European Union message to Turkey and targeted measures against Turkey if it doesn’t cease all its provocative actions in the region. According to the sources, they also discussed which measures might be most effective.
Tsipras and Anastasiades discussed the strategy that Cyprus and Greece can pursue together in the coming period.
The meeting with Mogherine was held on the sidelines of the Party of European Socialists (PES) preparatory summit, while that with Anastasiades was held shortly before the start of the European Council.